As part of my current campaign to cultivate in myself a little bit of faith in the future (i.e. a future where we can all enter each other’s homes again) I want to talk about why I’m so enamoured of in-home family photography.
Not to get too mushy right off the bat, but your home is about much more than the literal rooms you live in. I appreciate a beautiful backdrop, but I think a photo holds so much more meaning when you have a connection to your surroundings.
Past is Present
This is where your memories are. The markers of time and growth, your past and present. It’s where you already have photos hanging on the wall or perched on a desk or a table. I want all that history to be part of your photos. I want to see all those layers. The chickens are part of the childhood. You’ll want to remember them and the role they played in this time in your life.
As a renter I’ve been lucky enough to live in the same place for the last six years, and this place is strewn with little bits of who I am. The kitchen is painted yellow and the bedroom is pale sea green (so soothing. Paint your bedroom sea green.) My cookbooks are stored next to a shoe box full of seeds in paper wrappers labelled in Kaleb’s handwriting.
There’s a cactus on the windowsill in a cracked mug I bough from a Mexican restaurant in San Fransisco last year, and there’s a wooden cupboard above the couch that holds shells, old brown bottles, little gifts and rocks that Kaleb has collected over the years.
However long or short it may be, your home is a personal history, and I think that’s worth documenting.
Your daily activities, however small or mundane they may seem, are part of the snapshot of this moment in time. My favourite photos generally aren’t of major milestones or occasions. They’re of small moments. An evening in the backyard, or cooking something colorful. The best photos of my partner are the ones I make out of the blue, in a nice patch of light while they’re lounging in a chair or scritching the cat’s chin or looking out the window.
It’s a chance to remind yourself of the beauty in familiarity, in the home you’ve chosen to make and the neighborhood that surrounds you. Maybe you won’t live there forever. These little details becomes larger over time.
Home is where the snacks are
I think part of what can make family photos stressful is taking kids out of their routines. Put them in new clothes and remove them from familiar spaces and they’re going to get stressed. Stressed kids = stressed parents. At home everyone gets the advantage of proximity to pets, snacks and all manner of comforting things.
Someone is going to have a meltdown (they will, don’t even fight it. It’s part of the process.) better to do it at home where you feel better equipped to handle a hiccup, laugh it off and keep going.
Family photography is about a moment in time, not a trendy pose or a pretty outfit. Location is a crucial part of this moment, and what location could be more important than your home? In-home family photography captures the whole picture (get it? eh? I’m not sorry.)